National Have a Coke Day
annually on May 8th
"Drink Coca-Cola," "It's the Real Thing," "Taste the Feeling," and a tune with the words "I'd Like to Buy the World a Coke"—these slogans all may have influenced you to drink a Coke over the years. But there are no phrases that are needed to get you to drink a Coke today, because it is National Have a Coke Day!
John Stith Pemberton invented a cola syrup at his Eagle Drug and Chemical house in Columbus, Georgia. He brought it to Jacob's Pharmacy in Atlanta and mixed it with carbonated water to make the first cola drink, and it was introduced to the world on May 8, 1886. Both Columbus and Atlanta have since laid claim to the creation of the drink. It was originally sold as a health drink or medicine, for getting rid of hangovers and headaches.
The name Coca-Cola was thought up by Pemberton's bookkeeper, Frank M. Robinson. The name stemmed from two of the drink's ingredients: coca leaves and kola nuts. Coca leaves, which are grown in South America, are a stimulant which cocaine is derived from. In fact, Coca-Cola had trace elements of cocaine in it until around the turn of the twentieth century. Today, a non-narcotic coca leaf extract is still used in Coca-Cola. Kola nuts gave the drink its caffeine.
In 1891, Asa Griggs Candler bought the rights to Coca-Cola and began selling it as a refreshment instead of a medicinal aid. At the time, it was sold only as a fountain drink, but shortly thereafter began being bottled. In 1909, it began being called Coke, but it wasn't until 1944 that "Coke" became a registered trademark of the Coca-Cola Company. The drink became widely popular after World War I, as this was a time when soft drinks were rising in popularity in general, sugar prices were cheap, and advertising and marketing increased.
Today the drink is distributed in most countries. It first began being sold in cans in 1955, and numerous other types of Coke have been sold, the most popular being Diet Coke. Besides being used for drinking, Coke can be used for cleaning and cooking, often being used to make cakes, and with meats and sauces.
How to Observe
Celebrate the day by having a Coke! Besides drinking it, you could use it in a recipe, or for cleaning and numerous other purposes. The day could also be spent by visiting the World of Coca-Cola museum, or by reading For God, Country, and Coca-Cola by Mark Pendergrast.